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Artistic Director’s Report 2017 was my second programmed season as Artistic Director, and the themes of repertoire renewal and audience engagement were displayed in different ways to 2016. The three stands of renewal - new works and formats, new productions, and building sustainable Australian operatic careers - were to the fore throughout our fiftieth Anniversary Year. Opera in the Park inaugurated this anniversary year with a Gala Concert, presenting soloists, the West Australian Opera Chorus, members of the UWA Music Faculty, and WASO in a spectacular event which audiences statewide enjoyed. Season One presented Puccini’s Tosca in a production by Stuart Maunder, new to Perth. The success and popularity of this production highlights the importance of continual renewal of the core repertoire, and the need to introduce new stagings of even the most familiar work on a regular basis. Season Two premiered the Opera Conference production of The Merry Widow. Featuring Taryn Fiebig and Alexander Lewis - both Australian principals with strong WA connections - the glamour, refined sensuality and expensive production values of Graeme Murphy’s direction won plaudits from audiences. It was desirable that WAO be the first Company to present this production, and the immense popularity of the season strengthened us in our conviction that the leading of new productions plays an important role in our artistic vibrancy. Season Three presented Lucia di Lammermoor in the well-loved Copley production. We programmed this as a celebration of the Company’s long history in curating traditional repertoire and stagings. The necessary degree of refreshment came from our casting, which featured a new generation of Lucia sopranos in the sensational Emma Pearson. Our anniversary year also strengthened our reach beyond Perth, through our Opera in the Regions programmes. Opera at the Pinnacles, Opera in the Valley of the Giants, Opera in Greenough, Opera in Broome and Opera in the Quarry were enjoyed by delighted local audiences, who experienced the power of the singing voice telling stories in an accessible, relaxed concert format with four singers and a piano. WAO intends to continue development and reach of this format, throughout 2018 and beyond. It signals that opera and His Majesty’s Theatre are not co-terminous, and that opera can reach well beyond the proscenium arch, and can also be stripped bare without compromising artistic standards in any way. My Artistic Director’s blog, published monthly, continues to receive good feedback as a tool for Company outreach and persuasion to an attentive audience. My goals as Artistic Director of WAO remain: to refresh the repertoire we offer, whether old or new; increase our connection with our audiences, some of whom want the familiar, some the new; achieve artistic standards of consistent and rising excellence; and strengthen and further deepen my relationships with the community, WAO staff, Board, benefactors, institutions, and artists. BRAD COHEN ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, WEST AUSTRALIAN OPERA

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West Australian Opera 2017 Annual Report  
West Australian Opera 2017 Annual Report  
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